I am often approached by companies wanting “search engine optimization (SEO)” services for their website. Some might wonder what SEO services are. Once you get a deeper understanding of what SEO entails, it will forever change the way you think about a website. It will likely result in changing your website. SEO will change your sales forever.
The biggest mistake I see companies make is trying to get the cheapest website available, even to the extent of using Godaddy’s© Website Tonight. I’ve heard people claim “Hey, my son can build websites.” And that very well may be true; but can he build a website that will generate customers? That’s a brutal question, I know, but it can also cost you your image. You’ve heard the saying “It takes a lifetime to get a customer’s respect and a second to lose it.” A properly built website should be more than just a billboard of services.
In fact, a bad website can hurt future sales. Out of proportion graphics, cross browser incompatibilities, archaic site architecture, poor sales copy, grammatical errors, no contact form, etc. It makes me ask “Does a 17-year-old understand all of that?” Probably not. I know at 17, I didn’t know the first thing about sales, marketing or branding. My point here is, a proper website is more than just some html pages thrown up onto a server.
It’s your brand.
If you care anything about your image (which most of us do even on a personal level), then you will at least consider this. Instead of paying to have a website designed and then realizing it really does matter what it looks like to professionals and potential clients and that now you need to pay for SEO, then you clearly should have gotten an SEO website designer to begin with.
Understand the process of SEO now: Site design DOES matter.
1.) Keyword Research
Keyword Research – Probably the most important of the beginning steps. It’s the foundation of your SEO campaign. I use Google’s Keyword Tool, but I also use common sense, logic and focus groups to define the appropriate keywords.
Setting up Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics is a must!
2.) On-Page Optimization
Make the page meta titles descriptive and clear, optimize the meta keywords and the meta description (for a later post), tidy up each page to 450 words respectively, make sure there is a good internal linking structure, etc.
3.) Backlinking Campaign
Backlinking Campaign – Absolutely essential to any successful SEO project is a backlinking campaign. Here’s my only plug, we offer an initial campaign for $249. It will get your website off its feet.
Here are some tips for the DIYer: Generate links at a moderate pace, use varying keyword anchor text. Get links from a variety of places. This is the hard part.
Here’s where most people fizzle out but keep reading!
4.) Analyze Traffic
Once you get 1000 visitors (not a magic number just a good amount of traffic), look to Google Analytics. Not only will you find how many visitors your site had, what keywords they used to find your site, what site referred them to your site, what pages they viewed, etc., but it will also tell you how long they spent on your site.
It can be brutal at times…no doubt. If you look at your stats only to find no one spends more than 10 seconds on your site, that hurts.
5.) Increase Traffic Levels and Add Fresh Content
A high traffic ranking is a must for a truly successful website. This leads website owners further into the usability aspect of a website and into creating more of a resource instead of “just a billboard of services.”
A usability example; It’s hard to believe that in 2009 there are websites with no contact form. This is an SEO must! Not often have I had a customer call me or any of my clients when finding our services on the internet, they almost always use our contact forms. Many contact forms are generated because we are:
- easy to find
- our websites are well organized
- we have an easy way for people to contact us
In fact, I wouldn’t even bother with a website unless I had a contact form. Once you have a contact form, you are welcoming the potential client and making it easy for them to reach you.
Other Tools to Increase Your Traffic Level
Oh there are so many to choose from, let’s see:
- Social Networks (a la ning.com where you can create your own)
- Forums installed on your domain
- Interactive Game and Quizzes
- Tools useful to your target audience
Be creative. Set yourself apart and set yourself up for good times ahead, for you and your company.
The Easiest Way to Increase Your Traffic Level, Add Fresh Content and SEO all at the same time:
A blog! Did you get it right? A blog implemented by an SEO professional of course (it’s only a $100-$500 one-time fee. Every article you write gets generated for the search engines.
A blog is the only way to compete with larger sites. It creates an equal playing field for all. Each article, another page in the search engines. Every category, yet another page and every tag is yet another. The pages end up multiplying and within a year, you have a library of information you can package into an ebook. You also have hundreds of pages in the search engines. You have made your website the authority in your niche (see lower right image).
This is the main reason Ponder Consulting™ (that’s exciting my first time “tm”ing Ponder Consulting since being trademarked…more to come on that when the papers arrive) designs/creates all nonecommerce sites in WordPress, because we know it’s best for the customer, their future and our success. There are many more advantages (for another post), but to sum it up: WordPress is a search engine magnet, a website and blog all in one. In addition, it’s updatable by a novice computer user. Have I convinced you yet?
This article is by no means an all inclusive list of SEO steps, but it does create an outline that may help you make the right decision if you are considering a new website, a website redesign or SEO work.
In over ten years as a marketer, from direct mail to internet marketing, I have never seen a better return on investment (ROI) than a WordPress website (set up by a seo professional), a backlinking campaign, and a faithful blogger.
I am going to leave you with one last thought: If my business was in trouble (thankfully it’s not), I would be blogging my tail off. I do it anyway, because I know it’s good PR and good for SEO. Besides, if I KNEW it would attract potential clients for my business then I would do it! It’s a no-brainer and I am telling you, it will produce a positive ROI if executed correctly.
All of this information is true. If you have any questions, comments or arguments about these theories, I would love to hear them. Please share your comments below.
In case I don’t get back by the weekend, have a Happy 4th of July, full of barbecues, fireworks, friends, families and memories. I know I am. We are hosting the first ever “Ponder Consulting™ Summer Bash” at the cabin on the lake in Cheboygan if you will be around, contact me for directions.